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The Supreme Court upholds a gun control law intended to protect domestic violence victims

Court rejects Beydoun appeal to get on primary ballot in U.S. Senate race

Melissa Nann Burke
The Detroit News

The Michigan Court of Appeals on Friday denied U.S. Senate hopeful Nasser Beydoun's request to order his name placed on the ballot for the August primary election.

Beydoun had appealed to the court after the Board of State Canvassers last week deemed his nominating petitions insufficient to qualify.

The Michigan Court of Appeals denied an appeal by U.S. Senate candidate Nasser Beydoun asking the court to order his name placed on the Aug. 6 primary ballot.

The canvassers last week voted 4-0 against certifying Beydoun for the ballot because he'd improperly included a post office box on the header of the petition instead of his home address in Dearborn.

"We find no ambiguity in MCL 7.215(C)(1), and conclude that this statute requires candidates to list either a street address or rural route on nominating petitions," a three-judge panel wrote in a brief opinion issued Friday afternoon.

The ruling leaves just two candidates on the Democratic ballot for the Aug. 6 primary: U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Holly, and the actor and author Hill Harper of Detroit.

Beydoun said Friday that he's still weighing his next options, including running as an independent, launching a write-in campaign or endorsing another candidate.

"We’re very disappointed. It’s just another bureaucratic way to keep the voters out of the process,” Beydoun said. “What does it matter if there’s a P.O. Box on the form? It has no bearing on the outcome of the petitions. There were 24,000 people who wanted me on the ballot, and they removed me for a P.O. Box."

The court on Friday highlighted the petition form provided in the relevant statute by the state Legislature, stating that in the place for the candidate’s address: “Street Address or Rural Route.”

"No other options are provided, and there is no mention of a post office box being a third option. Rather, the statute provides only two options, neither of which is a post office box," the panel wrote.

Beydoun's lawyer had argued in his filing that his nominating petitions were in compliance with state law that requires a candidate's address, arguing that a P.O. box is an address under Merriam-Webster and Black's Law dictionary definitions as a "place where mail or other communication is sent."

His lawyer argues that P.O. boxes are safer on nominating petitions than residential addresses in an "era of political violence," noting that Beydoun's "staunch" opposition to the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza has made him the target of threats and that publicizing his home address "puts yet another target on his back."

The court said that "while we are not unsympathetic to plaintiff’s public-policy argument, this Court is not the correct forum to seek relief in that regard."

It pointed out that the statute does not require use of a candidate’s residential street address on nominating petitions and that other rulings have found that the street address of a candidate’s law practice and candidate committee’s headquarters both complied with the address requirement.

mburke@detroitnews.com